Shark attacks can be frightening. Even if you’re out kayaking in waters that aren’t shark-infested, just hearing about it can make your skin crawl.
We know how important your safety is. So, we went out and talked to some experts in the hope of answering the question: are sharks attracted to kayaks? We also wanted to know if different kayak colors are a source of attraction for sharks.
Sharks are not attracted to any specific colored kayak. Shark attacks are rare, but it’s important to know what you should do if you encounter one.
We’ll share everything you need to know as well as statistics and shark attacks on kayakers.
So, let’s get to it.
Are Sharks Attracted to Kayaks?
It makes for a terrific movie plot. Just imagine a couple of colorful kayaks and one toothy shark.
However, in reality, sharks aren’t interested in either you or your boat.
There’s no doubt they’re big and scary. Although, nine times out of ten, sharks will just pass you by, minding their own business. They rarely bother with kayaks, other water vessels, or even swimmers.
Nonetheless. we wanted some tangible information to put all our minds at ease. Luckily, we found a study carried out by the National Safety Council. It determined that the odds of a shark attack are 1 in 3,748,067. That’s less than the risk of dying by accidental poisoning, heat exposure, and drowning. Combined!
So, why do we assume the worst when it comes to sharks? Well, for starters, their menacing appearance pretty much tells you what you need to know.
Plus, the media has us sold on the idea that sharks are always in a feeding frenzy. So, they just gobble up everything in sight without rhyme or reason.
That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Sharks are extremely intelligent creatures. Scientists tell us that their brain size is relative to their body weight. They even believe sharks have the ability to develop various skills.
Do Bright-Colored Kayaks Provoke Shark Attacks?
We know sharks have amazing eyesight. It’s reported that it’s over 10 times greater than ours. Even in dim light conditions, they can still see exceptionally well.
Another thing they can easily make out is colors. This got people wondering, ‘Are sharks attracted to kayaks because of their colors?’
The short answer is no. While a shark can spot your bright orange kayak floating in the water, it won’t attack it only because of its color.
As we mentioned earlier, shark attacks are quite rare. Nevertheless, if it does happen, the shark will only find your kayak interesting out of sheer curiosity.
Based on years and years of research, scientists now tell us that sharks are curious. Like any intelligent animal, they want to find out as much as they can about their environment.
Their inquisitive nature is entirely normal. Still, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Once you know what not to do, you’ll feel a whole lot safer every time you’re out on the water.
So, take a look at the following triggers that might cause a shark to attack your kayak.
- Sounds, especially irregular sounds made by swimmers or fish in distress
- Colors such as white, silver, yellow, and orange are the brightest and most attractive
- Blood, combined with other factors, may provoke sharks to move to certain areas
- Shadows—yours or your kayak’s—could resemble marine mammals that sharks prey on
Will Dark Colors Prevent a Shark from Attacking Your Kayak?
Some kayakers believe bright colors attract sharks more than dull or muted shades. So, to keep them as far away from your boat as possible, they pick out dark-colored kayaks. Some even paint their kayaks in various deep tones, like grey or black, to ensure they don’t get picked up by a shark’s radar.
While it makes sense, scientists have debunked this theory. Their advice? Simply don’t venture into areas where sharks live.
Say you found out there was a wild dog on the loose on the other side of town. Would you go anywhere near there? Probably not. It’s the same concept with sharks.
Here’s another piece of advice: invest in a cooler. To keep their fish fresh, many anglers dangle their catch from the side of the kayak. Why not just hang a big, flashing, neon sign from your kayak inviting all the neighborhood sharks for free food?
The alternative? Put the fish in a cooler or any type of waterproof storage container. It’ll stay fresh for longer and you’ll avoid having sharks stop by for a snack.
What to Do if You Encounter a Shark While Kayaking?
Just as in any worst-case scenario, being prepared can go a long way in helping you come out unscathed. So, check out these dos and don’ts in the event you encounter a shark while you’re out on the water.
Panic shuts down our prefrontal cortex (PFC). That’s the part of our brain responsible for reasoning and cognitive functions. This is why when we’re scared or anxious, we tend to make irrational decisions.
So, it’s super important that you remain as calm as possible. As a result, you’ll be able to think more clearly and make wise choices that won’t put your life on the line.
Steer Clear of Shark Prey
Do you notice any dead marine animals floating on the water? If yes, then paddle away as fast as you can.
Dead floating animals usually mean lunch for sharks. So, if a shark sees you coming anywhere near its food, it’ll go into attack mode.
Don’t Hit the Shark with Your Paddle
If the shark seems to be approaching, your first reaction will be to lash out in defense. First off, you have to be aware that hitting the shark with your paddle won’t scare the giant, grey predator away. Instead, you’ll just make it angry and provoke it to attack.
Chances are, the shark is snipping at your boat out of curiosity. Or, it’s simply mistaking your kayak for food.
Try to stay still and don’t move around as much as you can. After a couple of minutes, the shark will realize the boat isn’t food after all. It’ll just swim away and leave you in peace.
Don’t Splash Around Too Much
Whether you’re in the kayak or the water, avoid splashing around. The irregular sounds of your splashes may entice sharks to check out what’s causing all the commotion.
Add to that your arms and legs flailing in the water or paddles smacking the water back and forth. What do you get? An open invitation to strike!
When in the kayak and you see a shark, stop paddling. If you’re in the water, try to swim with a few splashes as possible. Move in the direction of the shore, great!
If the shore is too far away, look for nearby boats or kayaks. If there are none, the only other option left to do is to swim away from your kayak and wait. Once the shark swims away, you can go back to your boat.
Are sharks attracted to kayaks, especially bright-colored ones? After reading this post, you probably came to the same conclusion we did: sharks aren’t as big a threat as we once thought. That’s why there’s no clear-cut answer to that question.
You might have a bright orange kayak out on the water, and a shark will just swim by without engaging. On the other hand, someone else may have a grey or brown colored kayak. Yet, for some reason, something makes the shark stop to investigate. It nips at it thinking it’s food or a potential threat.
At the end of the day, it’s all about being prepared. Knowing what to do and what not to do will keep you safe on the water. Plus, you’ll enjoy your kayaking adventures all the more!